Handwritten By Jefferson
I recently visited an informative website of a homeschooling mother. Her site is called Higher Up and Further In. She had a picture of a handwritten paper by Thomas Jefferson. He had what was called a common place book where he would rewrite quotes and other pieces of writing which interested him. In his paper from the website he copied a poem written by Ann Taylor.
Ann Taylor lived from 1782-1866. She is remembered as a poet, hymn writer and children’s author. She also had a younger sister named Jane who shared her love for writing. Together they wrote the world reknowned nursery rhyme “Twinkle, twinke Little Star (1806). Together they published Original Poems for Infant Minds in 1804. In 1808 they published another book Hymns for Infants Minds. In their writings they taught of morals and the consequences of bad behavior to their young readers.
Thomas Jefferson lived from 1743 N.S.to1826 and was the third President of the United States (1801–1809). He was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and an influential founder of the United States. Among many other accomplishments such as being a a plantation owner, architect, archaeologist, mathematician, author, lawyer, inventor, violinist, he was also the founder of the University of Virginia! (Gee, where has most of my life gone I’ll never be able to catch up with such extraordinary talent. He must have always had an attitude to keep busy!)
Here’s the poem in it’s entirety (12 verses). Some internet sites say that Jane the younger sister wrote but most say Ann Taylor did.
Who fed me from her gentle breast
And hushed me in her arms to rest
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
When sleep forsook my open eye,
Who was it sang sweet lullaby,
And rocked me that I should not cry?
Who sat and watched my infant head,
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
Who dressed my doll in clothes so gay,
And taught me pretty how to play,
And minded all I had to say?
Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place and make it well?
Who taught my infant lips to pray,
To love God’s Holy Word and day,
And walk in wisdom’s pleasant way?
And can I ever cease to be
Affectionate and kind to thee
Who wast so very kind to me…
Oh no, the thought I cannot bear,
And if God please my life to spare,
I hope I shall reward thy care,
When thou art feeble, old and gray,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
And I will soothe thy pains away,
And when I see thee hang thy head,
It will be my turn to watch thy bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed…
For God Who lives above the skies,
Would look with vengeance in His eyes,
If I should ever dare despise